Chapter 834: Making Trouble In Public
The cultivators on horseback guffawed when they heard Ling Hui'er's tone. With exaggerated expressions, they staggered to and fro, their bodies swaying from side to side. It was as if they'd heard the funniest joke in the world.
"Law?" One of them cackled, clutching at the back of his horse. "What right do two little ants have to speak of law here, in Veluriyam Capital?"
"Wench, let me teach you what the law here is really like, eh?" Another cultivator rode towards them as he laughed, reaching for Ling Hui'er's chest with a one-armed swipe. Ling Hui'er's pretty face turned pale. Ling Su saw an opening in the action and countered with a block, parrying the other man's arm with his own.
"You're looking to die, aren't you?!" The attacker angrily shouted upon being intercepted. He raised the whip in his hand with a savage motion. It swished through the air like a serpent soaring through water, intent on striking Ling Su's head. Having to not only protect his daughter but also dodge the blow, Ling Su found himself in a tight spot. Incensed by the proceedings, Ling Hui'er drew her shortsword and slashed towards the whip.
"Get out of the way, girl!" The man was evidently much stronger than Hui'er and knocked away her blade with a single curl of his whip.
Ling Hui'er felt her arm throb, her body shaking as if she'd received an electric shock. The next moment, she was sprawled on the ground, incapable of moving. The man's whip, however, still had leftover momentum. It smashed brutally into Ling Su's face.
The sound of the whip was crisp and audible. The blow immediately left a deep gash, exposing the underlying bone.
"Resorting to force because you can't pay up, hmm?" The man grinned scornfully. Showing no sign of relenting, he took another swing at Ling Su's head with his whip. This attack was more vicious than the last. If it hit, Ling Su's head would definitely be sent flying.
Ling Su hastily attempted to evade the strike. Though he was fast, the man's whip was faster. It seemed inevitable that the whip would connect with its target. Suddenly, a sound tore through the air—the whistle of a rock, ricocheting off the whip. The unexpected projectile diverted much of the whip's impact and direction, causing the whip to veer slightly off to the side. Seizing this opportunity, Ling Su avoided the fatal attack just in time.
Gravely taking note of his enemy's ability, he ran quickly towards his daughter. Pulling out his saber, he stood in front of her protectively. The burly man had intended for his whip strike to kill Ling Su, but the rock had appeared out of nowhere and foiled his plans.
"Who?! Who sabotaged me like this?!?!" The man roared savagely into the air, whip still in hand. His companions rode up on either side of him as well, indignantly surveying the surroundings. Clearly, these people were used to running rampant around these parts. They hadn't expected that someone would have the audacity to cause trouble for them in public.
A red-haired man strode over from across the road, his manner indifferent. "Gentlemen, live and let live." He made a cupped-fist salute to those who were gathered. "How much money do they owe?"
The burly man was the unmistakable leader of the bunch. "You're the one who took the shot just now?" He glared at the red-haired man, his eyes menacing.
The red-haired man seemed to have a natural corpse-like demeanor, his face completely devoid of emotion. "Yes."
"Do you know what you're doing?" The burly man asked pointedly.
"I know." The red-haired man seemed to completely overlook the other's intimidation tactic and threatening aura.
"If you know, then you should also know that no one sticks their noses into Myriad Snake Gang's business here in the Azure Sea District! You don't look like someone with three heads and six arms, hmm?" The burly man looked the red-haired man up and down, his voice becoming gloomier by the second.
"Why don't you tell me how much money they owe?" The red-haired man had no intention of beating around the bush.
"Who are they to you? You want to pay for them? Do you even have the money?" The burly man sneered.
"Let's hear your answer first." The red-haired man said coolly.
"Fine, fine. It's rare to find a hero like you who's willing to be a good Samaritan, especially in the Azure Sea District! This is something new! I'll give you a chance. He borrowed a million high-rank saint spirit stones from us. Now that such a long period of time has passed, he needs to repay three million stones for principal and interest." The burly man extended three fingers. "If you give us three million saint spirit stones on their behalf, I'll forget about what happened today."
The red-haired man furrowed his brows. Three million was clearly more than he'd expected. By now, Ling Su had recovered from the shock of his near-death experience. "I don't know how overbearing you Myriad Snake Gang people are in Veluriyam Capital," he loudly protested. "You say that I borrowed money from you, but there's no proof that I ever did. Do you just grab any random person off the street and say that they owe you money? And if they can't pay, you'll detain them instead? Are you debt collectors or robbers? The capital can't let horrible people like you run amok out in the open like this! I don't believe it."
Ling Su had seen similar things happen to others in the past, but he had never personally been the victim of such blatant fraud. And of such a large sum too! He knew that if the debt was substantiated, it would be impossible to overturn for the rest of his life. His daughter would be taken away as well, and terrible things were sure to happen to her. He absolutely could not sit around idly and allow something like that to happen. Seeing as how someone else was willing to come forward and defend him, Ling Su had to loudly proclaim his innocence.
"Us Myriad Snake Gang people always carry out honest deals. We lent money to you because we trusted you—that's why there's no lending slip. We didn't expect you to be such a crafty snake and blatantly deny your debt." The burly man scoffed, turning to stare at the red-haired man. "Sir, we're not opposed to you coming to their aid. However, if you can't pay up, then please get out of the way." The burly man had noticed the impressive strength of his red-haired adversary. Though he and his cohorts were capable of defeating the man, they would likely have to pay a certain price for doing so. Thus, he had chosen to take a step back in light of different goals. He didn't want to tangle with the red-haired man for now. It was better to take care of the father and daughter duo first. The red-haired man could be saved for later, when more gang members were present. They could then teach him a lesson about what happens when you stand up for others in the Azure Sea District!
The red-haired man shook his head mechanically, "If you have no lending slip, how can you prove they owe you money? That makes no sense."
"What now?" The burly man's tone turned frosty. "Are you saying you'd want to teach the Myriad Snake Gang how we should do business?"
The compatriots behind him were furious as well. "You better take the easy way out while you still can. What happens here is none of your business. If you know what's good for you, scram! Don't interfere with our gang's business. If you don't, don't blame the Myriad Snake Gang for not giving you any face!"
"I'm not interested in any of that," the red-haired man smiled faintly. "However, I won't let you swindle my friends here either."
"You're lying to our face, aren't cha? You don't look like friends to me."
"Hah, you have too many friends! Is everyone off the street your friend?"
The red-haired man crossed both arms in front of his chest. "I have no right to question how you do business, so you also have no right to question how I make friends."
"You…" The burly man's face darkened. "So you're determined to stick your nose into this?"
"Brother Iron, don't waste any more words with him. If he wants to be the better man, we'll just cut him down. Since when did we allow trash like him to have any say in what our gang does?"
"Yeah, kill him!" The riders were fired up and out for blood.
The red-haired man would have none of it. "How imposing and ferocious! If I didn't know you were the Myriad Snake Gang, I'd think that you were some faction under one of the emperors!"
The burly man hadn't been expecting those words, and found it difficult to assess the red-haired man's background. "Who are you really?"
"A man with no name. It's not important enough to mention." The red-haired man replied calmly.
"You say you're some no-name person, and yet you want to stick your nose where it doesn't belong anyway? Mind your own business!" The burly man had a hunch that the red-haired man likely had some sort of backing. It would be best to avoid conflict with him. The Myriad Snake Gang really didn't have anyone to fear in the Azure Sea District, but still.
"It's not something I enjoy doing, I assure you. But if I don't act, something awful will probably happen to me. Whatever it is, though, it'll be worse for you." The red-haired man was as deadpan as ever.
"Something awful? And it'll be worse for us?" The burly man roared with laughter. "You talk a big game, but can you back it up with your actions? Be careful that you don't hurt your tongue!"
"Hurting your tongue isn't a big deal, but hurting your head… well, then you're done for," the red-haired man sardonically remarked.
"So you're intent on meddling in someone else's business, then?" The burly man was out of patience.
"It's hardly someone else's business. You could say that it's of paramount importance to me," the red-haired man declared. "If I were you, I'd leave now and avoid making this worse for yourselves. The bigger the ruckus, the more trouble you'll have."
"Tsk tsk, are you threatening us?"
"Heh, what a joke! There's someone brave enough to challenge the Myriad Snake Gang in the Azure Sea District?"
The red-haired man took no heed of their cavalier attitude. He didn't budge an inch. Like a nail, he was securely stuck into the side of the street, placing himself in front of the Ling father and daughter duo. By now, Ling Su had helped his daughter get back on her feet. He walked towards the red-haired man. "Thank you for your chivalry, friend. I greatly appreciate…"
"Is your last name Ling?" The red-haired man interjected suddenly.
Ling Su paused, unsure if the other man was friend or foe. He didn't know how to answer the question.
"If so, I'll deal with things here. If not, I'll be off." The red-haired man seemed to use the same tone to speak to everyone, be it friend or foe.
Ling Su's heart was aflame with anxiety. After some hesitation, he nodded. "Yes, that is my surname."
"Then I've got the right guy, eh? Take a seat," the red-haired man gestured with his head. "Don't worry, their extortion isn't going to work here. Rather, something bad will happen to them very soon." The Ling father and daughter duo exchanged looks, sharing the same feeling of incredulity. They weren't acquainted with the nobility at Veluriyam Capital, and they didn't have anyone to rely on. But from the looks of it, someone knew them instead and were dead set on helping them… how could this be the case? Moreover, their mysterious benefactor was clearly prominent. As notorious as the Myriad Snake Gang was locally, the gang was completely disregarded.
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